Siemens has taken over the role of project management for the German Ministry of Education and Research grant project IDEA (Industrial implementation of Digital Engineering and Additive Manufacturing). The goal of the IDEA project is to reduce development and production times in the powder-based Additive Manufacturing of complex metal components by approximately 50%.
Currently the individual work steps along the AM process chain often take place in isolation, from CAD design to component finishing. IDEA aims to bring together fourteen partners from business and science to drive ongoing efforts to industrialise and automate Additive Manufacturing.
The partners in the IDEA project include the hardware and software suppliers ALLMATIC, BCT, Jenoptik, ModuleWorks, and Siemens Digital Industries; machine makers EOS and Trumpf; and AM users Liebherr-Aerospace, MBFZ toolcraft GmbH, MTU Aero Engines, and Siemens Gas and Power. The project is supported by the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT), the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT), and the RWTH Aachen University’s Machine Tool Lab (WZL) and School of Digital Additive Production (DAP).
IDEA’s priority is to further industrialise AM for Germany’s industrial sector through the use of partnerships across the industrial spectrum, with a particular focus on linking hardware and software. Digital twins of products to be manufactured, the manufacturing process, and the entire production line are expected to significantly develop AM – which is still characterised by manual input – into a highly-efficient production line.
A development and implementation phase will be followed by a validation process in the second half of the project. This will involve measuring how well IDEA’s targets have been achieved based on manufacturing demonstrator components in two pilot lines.
The prototypes for industrial production lines will be built in the Siemens gas turbine factory in Berlin and at MBFZ toolcraft GmbH in Georgensgmünd, and will take into account the requirements of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as those of large industry.
The project is part of the Line integration of Additive Manufacturing processes (LAF) funding initiative, which was created by the German Ministry of Education and Research under the Photonic Research Germany programme. The grant funds amount to just under €14 million. The project is scheduled for a three-year period.